September 27, 2013 — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado has announced the arrest of Eric and Ryan Jensen, the owners of Jensen Farms, in connection with the 2011 outbreak of Listeria food poisoning linked to cantaloupes.
The brothers were charged with six misdemeanor counts of selling adulterated food in interstate commerce. If convicted, they each face up to six years in prison and $250,000 in fines per charge. They were released on $100,000 bail. Trial has been tentatively schedule for December 2.
Court documents indicate that the cantaloupes were processed on equipment designed and previously used on raw potatoes, which may explain how Listeria got into the cantaloupe-processing facility — the bacteria is found in soil, water, the intestines of some animals, and cow manure.
The system was designed with a catch pan where chlorine spray could be used to wash the cantaloupes, but the spray was never used. Furthermore, inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found evidence of corroded, dirty equipment that was hard to clean. Pools of potentially-contaminated water also formed close to packing equipment.
When the outbreak ended in October 2011, the CDC investigation confirmed 147 people were infected in 28 states, of whom 33 died. One pregnant woman had a miscarriage. Ten additional deaths occurred in people who were infected with outbreak-associated sub-types of Listeria, but their official cause of death was not listeriosis.
Crave Brothers Listeria Outbreak “Appears to be Over”
The CDC repots that an outbreak of Listeria food poisoning linked to Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese “appears to be over.” Six illnesses have been confirmed, including one death and one miscarriage. The last reported illness was on August 22, 2013. Cheeses included in the recall include: Les Frères, Petit Frère, and Petit Frère with Truffles.
Do I have a Listeria Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Listeria induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by listeriosis (food poisoning), you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Food Poisoning Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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